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Chapter 54: We Take Him On Board... Notes from Great Expectations

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Great Expectations Chapter 54: We Take Him On Board...

Pip's mind is wholly devoted to helping Provis escape, and at the appointed time the plan is set in motion. Herbert, Startop and Pip row down the river, and Provis joins them in the boat, looking quite inconspicuous. Of all on board, Magwitch seems the calmest--more than anything, he's happy to be with Pip.

The route down the river is long, and it's decided that they'll stop for the night at a dismal riverside lodging house. Inside, one of the men of the house is chattering that he's seen some men in a four-oared galley, rowing up the river and down the river, and that they look like Customs men to him. This news gets the escapees nervous, and they decide they'll hole up in the inn until just before the steamer is due to arrive, and then they'll make a break for it.

The next day, the four row out in pursuit of the steamers, when suddenly the four-oared galley shoots out beside them. There is a skirmish, and Magwitch is captured. Compeyson was in the other boat, and he'd led the authorities to Magwitch, but he's gone overboard and is presumed dead. Pip fears that Magwitch's fate is sealed, that he has little hope of escaping a criminal trial. He does, however, feel completely devoted to remaining at Magwitch's side:

"For now my repugnance to him had all melted away, and in the hunted, wounded, shackled creature who held my hand in his, I only saw a man who had meant to be my benefactor, and who had felt affectionately, gratefully, and generously, towards me with great constancy through a series of years. I only saw in him a much better man than I had been to Joe." Chapter 54, pg. 521

Topic Tracking: Expectations 10

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